Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The Wood Nymph - Mary Balogh
One of Mary Balogh's older titles and one I knew little about before starting and I'll admit I was a bit worried after reading a few chapters.
Heartbroken at the loss of Elizabeth in A Chance Encounter, William Mainwaring retreats to his country estate and meets the unworldly Helen Wade in the woods one day. She soothes his soul until he flees in panic after seducing her. He then faces the almost impossible task of redeeming himself in her eyes.
Lady Helen Wade and William Mainwaring came together in the woods and forge a relationship without knowing much about each other. Helen, or Nell as she tells him, is attracted to a man who seems to understand her and share her love for poetry. William finds her refreshing and is warmed by her interest in him while he tries to mend his broken heart.
They end up being intimate without really talking about who they really are and William, upset with his feelings for someone whose innocence he used and he doesn't feel he can give a whole heart to (not to mention that he believes her to be a village girl), leaves for his scottish estate. Helen, totally in love with him and planning to tell him the truth of who she really is, is left alone without understanding exactly what happened except that the man she idolized has abandoned her after using her.
In Scotland William can't forget Nell and decides to go back and offer for her but first he goes to London to meet old friends. That's when he finds Nell again, in town with her family for the season. He is shocked when he finds out who she is and wants to do the right thing and marry her but Nell is too hurt by his betrayal and behaves atrociously towards him and his friends.
While their behaviour and problems is certainly a proof of their lack of maturity when Nell finally has a revealing conversation with William's friend I was almost in tears because of how she must be suffering knowing he could be the solution to her problems but unable to accept him because of what she felt was his despicable behaviour.
It couldn't have been an easy choice to know that to restore your honor you must marry the man who ruined you and disappointed you in the first place and I think Balogh shows that inner struggle of Nell very well. If you love intense and poignant reads I think this one fits in that genre very nicely.